Can scenario planning catalyse transformational change? Evaluating a climate change policy case study in Mali

Totin, E and Butler, J R and Sidibé, A and Partey, S T and Thornton, P K and Tabo, R (2018) Can scenario planning catalyse transformational change? Evaluating a climate change policy case study in Mali. Futures (TSI), 96. pp. 44-56. ISSN 00163287

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The potential of participatory scenario processes to catalyse individual and collective transformation and policy change is emphasised in several theoretical reflections. Participatory scenario processes are believed to enhance participants’ systems understanding, learning, networking and subsequent changes in practices. However, limited empirical evidence is available to prove these assumptions. This study aimed to contribute to this knowledge gap. It evaluates whether these outcomes had resulted from the scenario planning exercise and the extent to which they can contribute to transformational processes. The research focused on a district level case study in rural Mali which examined food security and necessary policy changes in the context of climate change. The analyses of interviews with 26 participants carried out 12 months after the workshop suggested positive changes in learning and networking, but only limited influence on systems understanding. There was limited change in practice, but the reported changes occurred at the individual level, and no policy outcomes were evident. However, by building the adaptive capacity of participants, the scenario process had laid the foundation for ongoing collective action, and potential institutional and policy transformation. We conclude that to enhance the resilience of agricultural and food systems under climate change, participatory scenario processes require a broader range of cross-scale actors’ engagement to support transformational changes. Such process will both catalyse deeper learning and more effective link with national level policy-making process. In addition, individual scenario planning exercises are unlikely to generate sufficient learning and reflection, and instead they should form one component of more extensive and deliberate stakeholder engagement, learning and evaluation processes.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : West & Central Africa
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Scenario planning, Scenario process, Learning process, Stakeholders engagement, Learning and networking, Learning and evaluation, Climate change policy, Mali, Case study, rural Mali, Food security
Subjects: Others > Climate Change
Others > Food Security
Others > West Africa
Others > Mali
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2018 05:56
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2019 05:58
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: The authors acknowledge the CGIAR Fund Council, ACIAR (Australia), European Union, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), New Zealand, Netherlands, Switzerland, UK and Thailand for funding to the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). This work was also carried out under the Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions project (ASSAR). ASSAR is one of four research programs funded under the Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA), with financial support from the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada. The authors also thank the platform leaders and members at Ségou, Bougouni and Koutiala and the CCAFS team in Mali for the collaboration. They are grateful to Drs. Laura Schmitt Olabisi and Janice Jiggins and to the two reviewers for providing critical comments on earlier version of the manuscript.
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